Supplements vs A Balance of Real Food
When parrots and finches joined my family in 1998, I used to feed them a wide variety of supplements. But the only reason I did this was because I was just starting to learn about the correct combination of foods that makes up a TRUE–‘Balanced Exotic Avian Maintenance Diet Food Plan’. Then, when I started writing for Parrots magazine in 2002, I had the opportunity to do extensive background research for my articles and monthly column—‘The Holistic Parrot’. Since then I’ve read hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific published papers. The knowledge I’ve gained from this in-depth analysis serves as the foundation for the hundreds of articles I’ve written on avian nutrition. And this powerful, science-based background, has taught me that when fed the proper balance of nutritious foods, parrots don’t need nutritional supplements.
While, more importantly, I’ve used all this valuable information to create my ‘Balanced Exotic Avian Maintenance Diet Food Plan’. And I’ve seen the positive results of my balanced food plan in my own parrots and finches, my client’s birds, and in the parrots in the Healthy bird Project.
Parrots Don’t Need Supplements
I stopped feeding all avian nutritional supplements to my own parrots many years ago. Improving a parrot’s basic nutrition by feeding a balanced food plan is the first step before using any type of nutritional supplements. When you’re feeding your parrots and finches my ‘Balanced Exotic Avian Maintenance Diet Food Plan’, you don’t need any avian nutritional supplements. Following ‘old school’ practices of feeding a wide variety of different foods will not give your birds ‘balanced nutrition’.
Supplement Companies Have It Backwards!
All those companies that sell supplements for parrots and finches have convinced you that you NEED to buy their products to round-out the nutrition in the foods your birds eat. However, when bird lovers are feeding caged companion parrots and finches extremely poor quality diets of dry seeds, pellets, and other random foods–of course birds eating this type of poorly balanced diet are suffering from avian malnutrition. However, supplements will not fix avian malnutrition. The only way to reverse avian malnutrition is to feed your flock my ‘Balanced Exotic Avian Maintenance Diet Food Plan’.
Two Examples: Why Parrots Don’t Need Supplements.
As a part of the ‘Intake Information’ for the the Healthy Bird Project (HBP) one member included information about two supplements she was feeding her parrot with feather destruction habits.
Parrot Supplement For Calming
The first parrot supplement she sent me photos of was for calming her parrot. It contained two ingredients: one amino acid, L-Theanine, and maltodextrin. L-Theanine is found most commonly in green and black tea leaves. This may be where the popular and ineffective FAD of feeding tea to parrots has grown from.
When a parrot is suffering from malnutrition L-Theanine will not calm them.
A more common sense and practical approach for inducing calm behavior in parrots providing an easily absorbable calcium in the diet. However, for calcium to be used by the body the proper ratio of calcium to phosphorus in foods must be present. Having balanced amounts calcium and phosphorus in a parrot’s diet is the only way this bird will calm down. This is just one of the hundreds of essential nutrient interactions that are provided in my ‘Balanced Exotic Avian Maintenance Diet Food Plan’.
Maltodextrin, the second ingredient in this parrot supplement, is linked to many bad side effects. See my separate blog post: Maltodextrin—Bad for Parrots.
I suggested she stop feeding this parrot supplement immediately. And she did, and because her bird is eating balanced nutrition she is seeing positive results with her involvement in the Healthy Bird Project
Parrot Supplement For Feathers
The second parrot supplement she sent me photos of was for feathers. This product contained: stabilized ground flaxseed, stabilized rice bran, ground grain sorghum, yeast culture, calcium carbonate, vitamin E, iron polysaccharide complex, zinc sulfate, copper polysaccharide complex, biotin, sodium selenite, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin D3, calcium iodate, vitamin B6.
This product contains many ingredients that are easily available in natural wholesome foods. The B vitamins (biotin, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin B6) are in many whole grains. I also advise extreme caution in feeding ANY parrot supplement that contains the fat soluble vitamins A and D. The amounts of these two vitamins are not listed on the product label. For more on the dangers of vitamin A and D parrot supplements, read my blog post, “Feeding Parrots, Over-Supplementation Malnutrition”.
More concerns: Feathers are composed of protein amino acids. These essential nutrients are not included in this product. The calcium in this product does not appear to have phosphorus provided in the proper ratio for its absorption. The product does seem to offer a nice ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 essential fatty acids. However, I explained that once her parrot was eating the BBFE sprouting blend, and his daily portion of walnuts, she could stop using this product. The walnuts provide parrots the ideal omega-3 to omega-6 essential fatty acid ratio. She stopped using this product soon afterwards.
You can also see that feeding instruction say to sprinkle the product onto dry seed. This company has no idea how to use balanced nutrition to promote radiant health in parrots.
Balanced Parrot Nutrition is Easy!
Following and feeding
my ‘Balanced Exotic Avian Maintenance Diet Food Plan”, is really simple and easy.
I’ve made balanced avian nutrition easy for you. The avian nutritional supplement companies want you to think that balanced nutrition for your flock is hard. Or even impossible! But nothing is further from the truth. The best way to start feeding your flock a Balanced Food Plan is to start feeding our BBFE sprouting blends. Because BBFE is so nutrient dense, it is the main food–the foundational food–in my ‘Balanced Exotic Avian Food Plan”.
Right now, I have two exceptions to my no supplements need rule. These are DMG (dimethylglycine) and Probiotics. The DMG is only used on a case by case basis when serious symptoms are present. Probiotics can help support the metabolism of a malnourished parrot or finch during the diet transition period. After the bird has been on my balanced food plan for a while, and we are seeing improvements then probiotics can be stopped. For more information on DMG see the two links below:
Do you feed your parrot supplements?
Email us photos of the containers. Tell us why you’re feeding this supplement and the type of parrot you’re giving it to.
Let me help you learn a way using wholesome foods to accomplish your health and wellness goals for your parrots.
To the best if health for your flock!